Ethical and practical issues diagnosis

Week 10


Ethical and Practical Issues in Diagnosis

While diagnosis is a very important part of an MFT’s work, it must be done skillfully with respect for the client and their circumstances.  Misdiagnosis has the potential to negatively impact clients either in their internal assessment of themselves or the actual world in which they live.

Therefore, an MFT must be careful in how diagnoses are determined, documented, and explained to the client. Inaccurate diagnosis impacts treatment and erodes client and family trust in health care providers.  Misdiagnosis can delay proper treatment and cause unnecessary suffering and excessive use of health care services.   

This week, you will consider how your ethical guidelines are associated with the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of clients. The guidelines can be thought of broadly as well as it relates, specifically to the practice of marriage and family therapy.

Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.

Weekly Resources and Assignments 

Review the resources from the Course Resources link, located in the top navigation bar, to prepare for this week’s assignments. The resources may include textbook reading assignments, journal articles, websites, links to tools or software, videos, handouts, rubrics, etc.

Redshelf Textbook

AATBS National MFT Course Materials-2022

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List of Topics and Sub-Modules for Week 10


Week 10 Assignment: Identify the Ethical and Practical Issues of Diagnosis in Clinical Practice

Discussion Topic


You will interview a practicing MFT (or other mental health professional if they cannot find an MFT) to identify real world experiences and issues in the provision of diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.  In your discussion post, address:

· A description of the clinician’s practice

· The major types of clients they treat

· The process the clinician uses to assess the client’s symptoms and functioning.

· The most frequent diagnoses they provide.

· Cultural considerations they encounter in the client population.

· A description of how they discuss a diagnosis with their clients.

· What is the most common ethical issue they encounter?

Following the instructions described above, write a discussion post.

Your response should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.

Length: 400-500 words


Code of Ethics

AAMFT: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (2015). Code of Ethics.


Clinical, ethical and controversial considerations using the DSM-5

Kundla, M. (Director), & Kundla, M. (Producer). (2015). 
Clinical, ethical and controversial considerations using the DSM-5 [Video file]. Microtraining Associates. Academic Video Online:


Informed consent, confidentiality, and diagnosing: Ethical guidelines for counselor practice

Kress, V., & Hoffman, R., & Adamson, N., & Eriksen, K. (2013). Informed consent, confidentiality, and diagnosing: Ethical guidelines for counselor practice. 
Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 35, 15-28.

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